A flock of geese have flown into the engines, and pilot Chip Linton's plane is going to crash, so he has no choice but to make an emergency landing on Lake Champlain, (much like the one on the Hudson). Unfortunately the resulting flip leads to the death of thirty-nine passengers. Although the crash was a freak accident, Chip feels completely responsible and constantly dwells on "what-if's". Grief-stricken, Chip and his wife Emily decide to rebuild their lives and move their family into an old Victorian in New Hampshire; against the wishes of their twins Hallie and Garnet, who have strange feelings about their new home.
The new house has a door sealed with thirty-nine six inch carriage-bolts, and that's not the only strange feature. There are ghosts in the house, and they want something from the Lintons. Chip feels like he's losing his mind, while Emily and the twins find themselves surrounded by strange neighbors, (herbalists), who seem to have an unsettling fascination with their blood. Is the house to blame? Or is there something even more sinister at play?
Have you ever been so obsessed with a book that you forgot to eat or sleep? Well, that's how I felt while reading The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down, which I didn't expect from what I originally thought was "just a ghost story". It didn't have the typical haunted house/unfinished ghost business story-line, instead it was very unique and extremely creepy. The way the characters were set up was great; each of them, even the dead, had their own back-story and presence. Every time I read from Chip's perspective I felt like I was him, especially when he was on the edge of sanity, (this made the book feel a lot more real, not to mention particularly unnerving). The way that the separate plots came together in the end really threw me for a loop, and I didn't expect the ending, (or anything else about the novel's contents). This would make a great movie plot, with lots of twists and turns to keep viewers glued to the screen. Overall, I was blown away by Chris Bohjalian's writing style and attention to detail. Rarely does a horror novel come around that actually gives me chills and leaves me frighteningly aware of every creaking floorboard. I recommend to anyone looking for a haunting horror novel just in time for Halloween.
Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)
*** I received this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.